Sep 2 2015
John 5: I-40 (The Message Bible)
There were hundreds scattered around the alcoves. Some lame, some blind, some diseased. It was a sad sight. They were all there wanting to be healed. They believed that an angel stirred the pool every now and then, and the first one into the pool would be healed. Slowly Jesus and his disciples walked amongst the suffering. As he did so he noticed one man close to the pool. He had been lame for 38 years. Jesus seemed to know this. “Do you want to get well?” he asked. He did but no one would help him into the pool when it was stirred. Jesus said “Take up your bedroll and walk.” And he did.
A dramatic miracle happened that day. But the healing of this man provokes a question; why did Jesus heal only one when there was a few hundred?
There are three possibilities.
1. The Father was only healing one at this time.
2. Jesus only wanted to heal one.
3. Only one man had the faith to be healed.
Many churches teach the last one (3) because they practice a theology that claims that we can have the fullness of God’s kingdom now, and his kingdom includes healing. They say that our healing is up to us. If we have the faith we can be healed now. But the evidence surrounding this incident at the pool suggests something quite different. The pool area was crammed with people that believed they would be healed if they were the first into the pool. There was no lack of faith there. This was a people expecting healing. That’s why they were there!
Secondly Jesus never refused healing because the person lacked faith. You will remember the man who asked for his son to be delivered of an evil spirit. Jesus said to him “Everthing is possible for him who believes.” The man said “l do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” And Jesus did. Even though this man’s faith was small, Jesus delivered his son. (Mark 9: 21-27) The only people Jesus rebuked for lack of faith was the ministers (his disciples). We should never tell a patient that they are still sick or lame because their faith is low, it will destroy them.
I think its quite obvious from the context that the first option (1) is correct – The Father was only healing one at this time. Why this conclusion? Well the Jews questioned Jesus’ timing. He had healed the man on the Sabbath. They did not have a problem with Jesus doing healing, just not on the Sabbath. Basically they were saying ‘Why today, couldn’t it wait for tomorrow?’ But look at Jesus’ answer, “The Son can’t independently do a thing , only what he sees the Father doing.” In other words, Jesus was saying that he healed on that day because the Father was healing on that day. He simply did what the Father was doing. The same would apply to why he healed one man and not another. He healed who the Father was healing. If the Father healed one, he healed one.
If Jesus tried doing what the Father was not doing there would been no power. Its the same for you and me. We cannot just walk into a hospital and heal everyone, we must know what the Father is doing , and do it with him.
In verse 21 Jesus says “The Son gives life to anyone he chooses. Neither he nor the Father shuts anyone out.” Seeing this some readers may be tempted to teach that Jesus chooses who he would heal. But we have just seen that he does nothing independently of the Father. So his decisions were not independant. When Jesus says “The Son gives life to anyone he chooses” , he is saying that his will is perfectly in sync with the Father. He chose as the Father chose. We are supposed to do the same.
The Father’s choices are important. It’s by his moment to moment decrees that we have power. If God does not enable us we can do nothing. This is what grace is all about. Grace is the Father’s enabling coming down from heaven to save and heal. Faith is our response to his grace. Without grace, faith is useless. Faith can only follow grace. Good theology always makes God’s role more important than man’s. It’s important to keep this in mind when practicing divine healing.
Jesus said “Neither he nor the Fathers shuts anyone out.” One could be tempted to say that he shut a few hundred out when he only healed one at the pool. But this is to misunderstand how the kingdom of God comes. I will let Jesus explain.
Jesus said “It’s urgent that you get this right: The time has arrived — I mean right now! — when dead men and women will hear the voice of the Son of God and, hearing, will come alive” (25). Here Jesus is claiming that the ushering in of God’s kingdom has begun and as a result we will see the dead raised. We know this happened to Lazarus. But then Jesus says something different. He says “The time is coming when everyone dead and buried will hear his voice. Those who have lived the right way will walk out into a resurrection Life; those who have lived the wrong way, into a resurrection Judgment” (28). Here Jesus speaks of a time that is still coming, a time when everyone will rise from the dead in resurrection. So for Jesus there was quite clearly two steps to the coming of the kingdom. At his first coming the kingdom would begin to be ushered in, and at his second coming the kingdom come in fullness. This means we can expect some people to be healed and raised from the dead now, but not all. All believers will be healed and raised at his second coming. If all believers will be healed and raised eventually, then Jesus and the Father are not shutting anyone out.
Jesus healed who the Father was healing and when the Father was healing. This is the only way to do healing before the Kingdom comes fully. To be successful in this its vital that we learn to hear God’s voice . We can only know who he is healing by hearing what he is saying. And this means our relationship with God must be good. Lets speak a bit about relationship.
Jesus said to the Jews “You have your heads in your Bibles constantly because you think you’ll find eternal life there. But you miss the forest for the trees. These Scriptures are all about me! And here I am, standing right before you, and you aren’t willing to receive from me the life you say you want” (39). The Jews missed out on relationship with Jesus because their heads were in their Bibles, the church today is in danger of missing out on relationship with the Holy Spirit because their heads are in their Bibles. We cannot know who God is healing by reading our Bibles, our Bibles only tell us that God does heal. The Holy Spirit tells us who God is healing now. Reading the Bible is very important, but learning to hear God is just as important.
I have said this many times, but I will say it again; the written word is for truth, the prophetic word is for power. The written word tells us that God heals, the prophetic word tells us who he is healing now. We only have the power to heal who God is healing now. So its vital that we teach our people how to hear.
Finally, Jesus said “The Father loves the Son and includes him in everything he is doing” (19). I love this. Did you know that the Father wants to include you in all that he is doing? If you are his son or daughter he wants to include you. And the reason he wants to include you is because he loves you. Isn’t that great! So let him love you by including you! Don’ t expect your pastor to do all the hearing and healing! Let God use you! Learn to know God’s voice and experience what it is to share in his kingdom. You’re a son or daughter of it, so embrace it!
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